Dementia refers to a loss of normal brain function. It tends to adversely affect memory, thinking skills, the ability to mufti-task and can lead to several other disorders. The most common form of Dementia is the Alzheimer’s disease.
There are seven stages of Dementia. These Dementia stages have a progressive nature, meaning each stage is more severe than the previous one. For example, during the first dementia stage there are no such signs of memory loss. It is at this time however, that Dementia is said to be taking its root through memory loss. Followed by the second stage where memory loss becomes slightly more noticeable, and then the next where deficits become clearly evident and then at each stage the severity level
exceeds and eventually the patient needs a higher level of help.
The Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg is a scale that helps examine whether one is suffering from dementia and helps to assess any symptoms related to it. (See tabbed content below) It is a seven stage scale. Signs and symptoms that are found in the 4-7 stages are a clear indicator of the person’s likeliness of being affected by dementia. However, stages 2-3 signify that the person has a mild cognitive impairment which may transform into dementia. Actually, it could be said that we all fit into the first stage since it reflects that there is no cognitive impairment.
The Global Deterioration Scale
Click tabs to view each stage
The Global Deterioration Scale can also be used to assess what kind of nursing is required at each respective dementia stage. It is the Global Deterioration Scale that breaks down the dementia stages into seven stages naming each stage with the main signs and symptoms associated with it. For example, forgetfulness, confusion etc. Also, it tends to divide these stages further in three categories- mild, moderate and severe. Except for a few cases dementia is irreversible. That is, once a person becomes a dementia patient, it is hard or more appropriately impossible to avoid the dementia stages as the disorder cannot be stopped or reversed.
Although the GDS has become an increasingly popular way of testing dementia, there are some factors it fails to reflect. The symptoms and even the effects of dementia are more or less the same. For example, the problem of memory loss, lack of thinking skills, the deteriorating ability to make decisions, eating disorders etc. Empirically, all these syndromes are also a prominent sign of aging. Yet, GDS fails to take into account whether the dementia stages can be associated with an individual’s age. Furthermore the knowledge of how long it has been that the patient is suffering from even one of the possible symptoms could be another determining point ignored by the GDS. Critics of GDS also say that the validity regarding the GDS results assuming the occurrence of symptoms and disorders leading to dementia are questionable.
Now although dementia is a severe form of illness, and needs to be diagnosed at the right time where it hasn’t actually developed, because of its irreversible and unstoppable nature- one should not solely be dependent on what GDS has to suggest but pursue other measures in order to possibly prevent dementia.